12:17 am - Wednesday November 4, 2015

Chennai building collapse: Cries for help still heard from rubble

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More than 48 hours after the high-rise building at Moulivakkam collapsed, cries for help could still be heard from the rubble. Rescue officials say there is a good chance that more people are alive inside.

The survivors were saved by a beam or a huge block that may have fallen in such a way that prevented them from being crushed. But officials are finding it difficult to cut through the rubble and reach them, and fear time could run out.

On Monday, rescue workers pulled out five more construction workers. Of them, three had died, taking the death toll to 19. The 23 wounded persons are undergoing treatment at a local hospital. Still, 51 others are reported ‘missing.’

Amid unbearable stench, Meenammal (35) of K. Krishnapuram, Vizianagaram, and Govind (19) of Odisha who were found in the rubble were rushed to Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre (SRMC) by ambulances.

Three bodies were also retrieved, including those of Monisha, Padmavathi (35) of Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, while the other is yet to be identified.

A senior police official said that in all, 42 labourers were retrieved from the rubble by Monday. Of the deceased, eight hailed from Andhra Pradesh, four from Tamil Nadu, three from Odisha, while four others are unidentified. Of those rescued alive, 12 are from Tamil Nadu, nine from Andhra Pradesh and two from Odisha. The rescue operations continued for the third day in a robust manner.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who rushed to Chennai, inspected the site and heard about the rescue operations from the National Disaster Response Force.

Actor-turned politicians K Chiranjeevi and R. Sarathkumar, and Dalit leader Thol. Thirumavalavan also visited the site.

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